Beyond The Booth 005: FTampa transforms hardship into creative growth
Beyond the Booth is a feature dedicated to the hidden side of artists that exists outside electronic music— a side rarely discussed with those outside their immediate circle. We venture “beyond the booth,” so to speak, and dive into their deepest passions that tie into their unique personalities. After some self-introspection, each participant then returns to the booth, providing an exclusive mix for the Dancing Astronaut audience.
Brazilian powerhouse producer FTampa is living the dream. An artist whose passions in music speak volumes to his fans and counterparts alike, Felipe Tampa has been experiencing a non-stop wave of triumph within the past couple of years due to his gleaming output of full-bodied productions. From a young age, FTampa set his sights on a life outside his own, one that would allow him to express his innermost creative drifts and demonstrate his overwhelming need to create something much, much bigger than himself.
Tampa’s musical career began early on his life, picking up the guitar and keyboard in his hometown of Conselheiro Lafaiete and performing in various bands. However, the moment he discovered the expressive versatility that could be found in electronic production, the artist opted for a more solo career – and never looked back.
Compelled by this unquenchable drive, FTampa would go on to produce a mellifluous catalog of standout records ranging from progressive house to more pop-leaning melodic pieces like his recently released single, “Light Me Up.” His breakout moment came when the Dutch luminary Hardwell began spinning his track “Kick It Hard” in his sets in 2013, spotlighting Tampa’s instantly accessible production and catapulting his name into the spotlight. The artist would then go on to accept invitations to perform at Burning Man, Rock in Rio Las Vegas, and most notably, the main stage of Tomorrowland.
While Felipe Tampa’s meteoric rise is significant, his road to success did not come without hindrance. The artist speaks candidly about his life in Brazil, where at a very young age he suffered the loss of a parent, then later on, would deal with waves of depression despite his progressing career. His discussion about his struggles provides intimate insight into a frequently ineffable subject for developing and touring artists like himself, while also giving him a platform to speak to the roots of his creative vitality regardless of whatever turbulence he experiences in life.
Rounding out a profound fifth installment of Beyond the Booth, FTampa then follows up the interview with an impassioned, exclusive 60-minute mix that faultlessly captures his glowing and vigorous production that has him standing out among today’s up-and-coming talent.
You were born in a small town in Brazil. What was the community like there?
When you grow up in a small town in Brazil like I did, a lot of people feel the need to pursue an “ordinary” career. It’s hard to open your mind to the unlimited opportunities that there are in the world, and because of the humble beginnings people start off believing that their dreams are too big to be realised. I was told so many times that I was never going to make it in the music business… Many of the people that tried to push me back are now living the life they imagined as the right path, but I made my way out and now I’m here traveling the world! The close-knit community of my friends did teach me how to follow my dreams and emotions though!
What’s the music scene like in Brazil? How has it had an effect on your own style?
Brazil’s scene is always growing, but somehow I don’t feel that I’m a huge part of it to be honest. I mean Brazilian DJs make music that people love but it is quite different from the worldwide scene, which is what I’m inspired by. I’ve been living in Brazil for a while now and I’ve never changed my style (I believe I’m actually one of the few DJs who hasn’t changed to adapt to the Brazilian sound) and I will continue doing so and pursuing the music that my heart tells me to… I’ve always wanted to make pop music, ever since I started this journey, and now I have this great fan base that gives me the chance. I’m so grateful that people like what I’m doing! So I think the scene hasn’t really affected my style that much… If anything I’m the alien… haha
You lost your mother at a very young age. That must have been incredibly tough. How were you able to deal with her passing? How has that event shaped you as an individual?
It was a really tough time, I had my grandparents who were really there for me and they helped me a lot… They were really amazing and they made me the man I am today. I had a really hard time when I lost them also, but music was the key for me to cope and I embraced it.
Is what you’re doing now what you always wanted to do growing up? Did you have any other aspirations?
Oh yes! I always wanted to be a musician growing up. I think my biggest dream and my next step would be to create my own show where I would be playing guitar, bass, drums and keyboards all live, playing just my own tracks! That’s the real dream!
You recently created a mix titled “Numb” in response to Chester Bennington’s passing. Along with the mix, you mentioned, “To be an artist is sometimes very lonely, sometimes you are your only company and the only one you trust.” For people who may feel alone, what steps have you taken to overcome that feeling or make life on the road a little easier or friendlier?
I had a very difficult period in my career because for a time I didn’t have a team that really cared about the project as a whole. I went through a tough period and fell into depression, and I really wanted to understand why I was feeling so sad if I was achieving so many of my dreams, it was a terrible moment for me. I’ve always been a big fan of Linkin Park and I empathise with whatever Chester was going through. Currently I’m working with all my friends from my childhood, all of them are aiming at the same goal as me and we are all pursuing all our dreams together. I’m very thankful to have them on my team and for their unconditional support.
From what you’ve overcome, do you find your past has a huge influence in what type of music you produce? Do you think your music would be the same if you hadn’t lived through any of those experiences?
I’m pretty sure it does, because for me music is all about feelings and emotions. I’ve always liked to listen to songs that touch the heart and make you feel something. My influences always came from Rock’n Roll because I felt the strong emotions and heard the direct messages. I like to feel a connection with the audience when I’m performing. If I have to play for people when they are just hanging out, talking and drinking it makes me really sad. It’s not my thing. I like when people interact and go crazy… Rock’n Roll !!
Outside of musical inspirations, who else have you looked up to as inspiration? Why?
My life has been all about music, so pretty much all of my idols are related to music, I do admire a lot of people but I wouldn’t say I have them as a huge inspiration for my music to be honest.
Do you have any touching moments in your life that continue to inspire you?
I just had a son and this changed everything about who I am and has inspired me very much. One day my manager said something that I will never forget: “I’ve already made some bad decisions and I could have chosen a different path in life, but when I see my daughters I am sure that I did the right thing and I wouldn’t change it for anything”. That is my feeling today.
Your recent release “Light Me Up” is filled with uplifting energy. Can you tell us a little bit more about what led you to create this song and the meaning behind it?
This is so amazing! I was playing along with some Red Hot Chilli Peppers tracks on guitar at the time. I simply love everything the guitarist John Frusciante creates, and I came up with the Guitar Intro for ‘Light Me Up’ just after I’d been jamming to RHCP… Then I made the rest of the track really quickly! Powerful drums with a funk guitar and bass having a conversation over the top! It was lot of fun! I’m thinking I’ll record it on acoustic instruments to release a live version. I’m really using guitars to create my new songs and this is amazing for me because it brings everything full circle as I was a former guitar player in a band. The lyrics were written by Gia Koka, an amazing singer and songwriter, she really captured the emotion that the song deserved, both with the lyrics referring to the desire of having something that you know is bad for you and with the emotion she displayed while singing it. I love the song, and I’m so grateful that others do too.
FTampa – Light me up
Zara Larsson – Only you (FTampa Remix)
FTampa – Glowing
FTampa ft Kamatos vs Tujamo ft Sorana – One to our way (FTampa Mashup)
Jetlag ft. Ana Vilela – Trem bala (FTampa Remix)
Cat Dealers & Santti – Sober
Bruno Martini ft. Isadora – Sun Goes Down
FTampa vs The Weeknd – ID can’t feel my face
CAZZTEK ft. Kiyoshi – LIT
Rrotik & Lliam Taylor – Bounce Back (Lothief Remix)
Dirtyloud – Better
Bob Sinclar vs Aylen ft. Goshfather vs Vinai – Everybody Spread this Party (FTampa Mashup)
Linkin Park – Numb (FTampa Remix)
Bougenvilla – Onik
Sonic One – My Beatz Are Raw (Vion Konger Remix)
J Balvin & Willy William – Mi Gente (FTampa Remix)
Bounce Inc. X Daav One – Down Low
Skrillex ft. Poo Bear – Would You Ever
Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High) (FTampa Live Shows Remix)
Avicii ft. Sandro Cavazza – Without You (FTampa Remix)
MAGIC! – Red Dress (FTampa Remix)
Sigma vs Sikdope – Snakes to love (FTampa Edit)
Throttle – Hit The Road Jack
FTampa ft. Anne M. – Love Is All We Need
Feature photo credit: Sam Mendes